2014 Trek 1.5 First Ride Review

A couple of winters back I discovered the Trek 1.5 in its previous guise (http://girodilento.com/the-trek-1-5-a-bargain-winter-bike/) . On paper it made a great case for itself – a good price, the same geometry as the Madone, an excellent spec for the money and most importantly to me – proper clearance for proper mudguards for commuting, training and general winter riding, with a lifetime warranty from one of the worlds biggest bike brands. In fact it made so much sense (also as I’d never owned a Trek but had spend several years riding  a rival bike) that I placed my order and bought one (http://girodilento.com/winter-bike-ordered-finally-trek-1-5/). Over the course of that winter I rode about 1,000 miles on it (http://girodilento.com/winter-bike-first-ride-trek-1-5/).

For me, the 2012 1.5 had lots of positive points – like the ones mentioned above and on paper it seemed like a brilliant bike but on the road, I struggled a bit to warm to it. I guess looking back it felt like a frameset that was competent but had been left behind a bit by brands who had moved their aluminium ranges on a bit. I felt like Trek needed to modernise it.

So back at the Cycle Show (http://girodilento.com/2013-cycle-show-piste-highlights-favourites/) I was delighted to see a substantially updated Trek 1.5 on the market for 2014. Whilst most of what made the old bike stand out so much on paper have been carried over – not least the huge clearance for mudguards and the highly competent Tiagra drivetrain and a compelling price point – the new 1.5 features a new frame!

2014 Trek 1.5

2014 Trek 1.5

It also features a terrific (to me) new black, white and silver colour scheme that I liked immediately.

2014 Trek 1.5 - rear 3/4 view

2014 Trek 1.5 – rear 3/4 view

The new frame features some Kammtail-esque tube shaping that is a trickle down or nod to, the fine looking new Madone aero tube profiles and the geometry is still the same well proven H2 fit. The new shape looks modern and contemporary and got me excited about it being a stronger winter bike contender.

2014 Trek 1.5 frame Kammtail shaped tubes

2014 Trek 1.5 frame Kammtail shaped tubes

What’s even better is that the good people at Trek have kindly sent me one to ride and review and I’ve managed to get a solid first ride in. The ride was around some roads I know a little in the Midlands and was in proper winter riding conditions – we (the Trek and I) jumped straight in at the deep end.

2014 Trek 1.5 - still plenty of clearance for full mudguards

2014 Trek 1.5 – still plenty of clearance for full mudguards

After a lot of rain, the roads were filthy. Very wet, with lots of puddles and detritus. At one point there was a stretch of about 30 metres with water just about up to the bottom bracket and there were some very slippery, leaf covered descents. To top it off there was a rain shower heavy enough that I couldn’t see and had to stop. Perfect conditions for a first ride on a winter bike.

About to head out for the first ride - so still looking clean!

About to head out for the first ride – so still looking clean!

In 45kms on roads you don’t know enormously well it’s tough to get more than a first impression but I’d like to at least have a go for now.

The ride quality of the new frame definitely felt like a step forward over the old bike, the new 1.5 seems to have a lighter feel on the road and I thought it seemed more comfortable than the old one – particularly through the rear of the bike. I found the shape of the bars a touch “odd” – they felt quite wide to me but they’re fine and it’s probably just a personal observation. The Tiagra worked very well straight out of the box too and the non-branded brakes were competent but not brilliant but I’ll let them off as they’re long drop and I’m still delighted to see a bike like this from a big brand that can handle my trusted SKS Chromoplastic mudguards (although they’re not fitted to this bike).

2014 Trek 1.5 front mudguard clearance

2014 Trek 1.5 front mudguard clearance

2014 Trek 1.5 rear mudguard clearance

2014 Trek 1.5 rear mudguard clearance

On the old 1.5 that I bought, I never ever used the stock wheels, I took them off as soon as I got the bike home and replaced them with my Easton EA90SLX wheels, which sadly I recently sold – so I can’t try them on this bike. So not only was this a first ride on the new Trek 1.5, it was also my first ever ride on Trek 1.5 factory wheels and tyres. I’ll be honest and say, they didn’t feel light, but you’re never going to get that at this price point, so it’s not an issue or a concern. The wheels were comfortable and rolled well and the standard  Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite tyres held up very well in difficult conditions. It was pretty awful out there and they didn’t slip once or have me feeling nervous. I will be trying the 1.5 with lighter wheels and tyres and that will be interesting too.

It was a good first ride. The new Trek 1.5 has put a positive first step forwards. I still think it’s good value at £875 – especially now it has a completely new frame. It looks great too. On first impressions it’s more comfortable and rides well. I’m looking forward to getting to know it better over the next few weeks or so. It is now completely filthy and will have a good clean before the next outing.

If you’re looking at around £800 to £900 for a complete bike and would value the versatility of being able to commute, train, ride sportives, fit full mudguards for the winter and ride all year round with the confidence of a lifetime warranty for one of the world’s largest and most successful bike brands – then 2014 Trek 1.5 should certainly go on your shortlist. It’s available now at your local Trek retailer if you’re interested.

2014 Trek 1.5

2014 Trek 1.5

For those of you interested in weights – the 2012 Trek 1.5 I had weighed 10kgs out of the box (with mudguards) and the 2014 Trek 1.5 weighed 9.3kgs on my ebay scales of semi-truth, so it looks like Trek have managed to drop a bit of weight off the bike too, which is nice.

You can find out more about the new Trek One Series, including the 1.5 here:


Thanks for reading

UPDATE: I’ve now completed my full review which can be read here:


2014 Trek 1.5 rear chainstays and colour scheme details

2014 Trek 1.5 rear chainstays and colour scheme details

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